Monthly Archives: January 2017

They probably stroll over to Boulder Creek to pee and poop:

transientsneedweed

They’re the same do-gooders who encourage the homeless to answer questions in the annual Point-in-Time Survey, intended to show the need for increased funding to provide shelter / services for BUMS from all across America. This morning at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless the Homeless Philosopher said to the nice lady volunteer greeting everyone just inside the door, “Good morning — I don’t participate in the PiT.” Then I walked away . . .

— MRW

‘Require local ID for homeless services’

This letter-to-editor appeared in Sunday’s print edition of the Daily Camera and is also on their website:

Thanks for the most candid and informative report I’ve yet seen in the Daily Camera regarding any of the negative consequences of transients flocking to Boulder: “City struggles to manage human waste along Boulder Creek.”

Many of us who are homeless here try every day to exercise what I call positive peer pressure by holding the bad actors accountable, but it’s a losing proposition most of the time.

There is a way to eliminate 90 percent (my educated guess) of the problems — require a valid photo ID with a Boulder County address and proof of at least one year’s residency from anyone seeking shelter or services from any of the local nonprofits, such as Boulder Shelter for the Homeless or Bridge House. This is the policy of many homeless agencies around the country, including Haven for Hope in San Antonio, Texas.

I’m now looking forward to more truth in our newspaper, and less baloney from the apologists/enablers.

Max R. Weller

Boulder 

Boycott the 2017 Point-in-Time Survey in Boulder, CO

DONATING TO A NONPROFIT IS NOT THE SAME AS HELPING THE HOMELESS!

By Max R. Weller

What’s it all about? Metro Denver Homeless Initiative and Boulder nonprofits have one version of the truth, which seems harmless enough on the surface.

Now, what’s it REALLY all about? This faux census of homeless people is a fundraising tool for the agencies that are supposed to deal with this issue; therefore, there is a powerful incentive to find as many “unhoused” men, women, and children to count as possible. There is NEVER going to be an end to homelessness under the current system, in which More Homeless People = More Money. 

I haven’t participated in this Point-in-Time Survey scam in many years, and once again I urge other homeless folks here in Boulder (and everywhere across the nation) to boycott the do-gooders when they start beating the bushes looking for us in a couple of days (January 30th and 31st in our city):

pointintime

‘Editorial: Let Milo Yiannopoulos speak’

Copied below from the Daily Camera in its entirety:

Milo Yiannopoulos, right, is sprayed with Silly String along with UC Davis College Republicans as they re-enact the Nov. 18, 2011 pepper spraying of

Milo Yiannopoulos, right, is sprayed with Silly String along with UC Davis College Republicans as they re-enact the Nov. 18, 2011 pepper spraying of students by campus police during a rally on campus Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. (Hector Amezcua / The Sacramento Bee)

The controversy over Milo Yiannopoulos speaking at CU tonight is not unlike the debate that goes on in our modest offices on an almost daily basis. We believe in free speech and we believe in decency. We do not think these beliefs are contradictory, but we understand that at the margins there will be differences of opinion about just where the lines are drawn.

So, for example, we get letters condemning our editorial cartoons on a regular basis. The writers of these letters do not want merely to quarrel with the messages in the offending cartoons; they want us to know they should never have been published.

A week ago we ran a cartoon making a rather predictable joke about the Donald Trump circus replacing the Barnum & Bailey circus, which had just announced it was going out of business. A reader complained it was stupid and juvenile, in bad taste, not “classy,” and should not have been published.

Last weekend, we ran a cartoon which changed the presidential seal to incorporate Trump’s “America First” slogan and converted the American bald eagle into the Reichsadler, or German imperial eagle, which was a symbol of the Third Reich (and also the Second Reich in the 19th century, and the Weimar Republic). This, too, offended a reader who said we should not have published it. 

A few weeks back, a cartoonist illustrated the end of Obama’s presidency by replacing Porky Pig with Obama in the famous sign-off logo ending Looney Tunes cartoons, with Obama saying, “That’s all, folks!” A reader was offended, saying this was racist. “How could you?” he wrote.

Editorial cartoons are intended to be provocative. It is our sense that readers on both ends of the political spectrum are quicker to be offended these days than in the past, but that does not stop us from publishing provocative cartoons because our function here on the opinion pages is to provide a platform for a wide range of views, including satirical and irreverent views.

Which brings us to Yiannopoulos, the gay, British, sometimes blond-frosted, right-wing provocateur who has recently made it his mission to crusade against political correctness. Yiannopoulos believes that the left, and feminism in particular, have built a culture in which anyone who disagrees with their orthodoxy is by definition committing some sort of outrage. He is fighting back. Given the results of our recent election, it seems fair to say he is not alone in this view.

“In an outrage culture, I think the appropriate response is to be outrageous,” he told CNN in an interview last summer. “Because what I want to do is smash political correctness. I don’t want everyone to be like me, but I think it’s important that there are some people like me.”

The interview was occasioned by Yiannapoulos’s banishment from Twitter after he tweeted a series of insults directed at Leslie Jones, the “Saturday Night Live” cast member and star of last year’s remake of “Ghostbusters.” Yiannopoulos’s tweets, which qualified as trolling in the idiom of social media, triggered even nastier, more racist, more misogynistic tweets from various lowlifes who evidently felt Yiannopoulos’s tweets gave them license. Yiannopoulos replied he was not responsible for the acts of others and that famous Hollywood stars are not delicate flowers who require protection from free speech.

“If I offended you,” he said, “that’s me performing my function. And you should grow a thicker skin and grow up. And so long as there are people who think that offense-taking and having grievances is equivalent to some genuine kind of injury, I’m still necessary. You may disagree with me. That’s fine. Come debate me. But so long as there is a politics in this country, as there is, where people can turn victimhood and grievance into currency, I will continue to be as offensive as possible.”

Though we disagree with Yiannopoulos on most things, we confess to a twinge or two of identification with this sentiment. As a result of our criticisms of Boulder city government over the past couple of years, we have been accused of being impolite or inappropriate, of giving offense, of being outside the acceptable civic debate right-of-way. These accusations are mild forms of a very common tactic in leftist authoritarian countries, which is for those in power to delegitimize dissent by claiming it constitutes unacceptable behavior.

We believe such efforts to stifle dissenting or unpopular views are more dangerous than those views themselves. Belief in free speech includes tolerance for speech many will find offensive. This is why the American Civil Liberties Union famously defended the right of Nazis to march in Skokie, Ill., back in the 1970s.

Yiannopoulos was invited to speak at CU by two conservative student groups. When other students petitioned the university to disinvite him, Chancellor Phil DiStefano denied the request. “To be a university dedicated to the free exchange of ideas, our students should be exposed to views that are both in line with their beliefs and those that are not,” DiStefano wrote.

We agree. This principle is one academia and journalism share. If you don’t want to hear Yiannopoulos, don’t go. You can also protest his appearance, although we would suggest that actually plays into his hands. The way to frustrate a provocateur is to ignore him.

— Dave Krieger, for the editorial board. Email: kriegerd@dailycamera.com. Twitter:@DaveKrieger

Inspired by the Women’s March on Washington:

1i9ovd

You know, she might have a point — President Obama gave free cell phones to the homeless so they could stay in touch with dope dealers and each other. At Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, I overhear phone calls from guys sitting on the toilet to their friends in the nearby dining room, thanks to the American taxpayer.

Top that one, President Trump!

— MRW 

Interrupting my vacation for this special report from the Daily Camera:

When I saw this story on the front page of our local newspaper — which generally is SOFT on the worst-behaved transients who drift into Boulder, CO from all across America — I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming! Here it is, copied below in its entirety (but not being posted by me on either Facebook or Twitter):

City struggles to manage human waste along Boulder Creek

By Alex Burness

Trash from transients is pictured next to the Boulder Creek on Monday in Boulder.

Trash from transients is pictured next to the Boulder Creek on Monday in Boulder. (Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer)

When you gotta go, you gotta go.

But some in the city’s homeless community are asking, “Where?”

After businesses and public facilities close, the unhoused and unsheltered who sleep in hidden spots along Boulder Creek are opting in certain cases to relieve themselves outdoors, to the chagrin of public officials and many visitors to the area.

Yvette Bowden, director of Boulder Parks and Recreation, said last week in response to complaints about the human waste visible along the creek path and particularly common at and east of the Civic Area, “I’m not here to make excuses. We are, like all of you, dealing with the impacts of conditions that we wish were not so.”

The conditions — feces and used toilet paper, in addition to heaps of litter and homeless property — are not only off-putting, but have prompted concerns about sanitation in one of the city’s premier spots for outdoor recreation.

“I’m very sympathetic to the situation with the unhoused community, and I don’t want to demonize them,” said Alli Fronzaglia, the founder of the popular club Boulder Hiker Chicks and, more recently, leader of a new advocacy group called Friends of Boulder Creek. “I understand there are many factors involved in why they’re there, but we just can’t have people living without facilities along waterways.”

In early fall, the City Council directed police to begin re-enforcing the urban camping ban, after a roughly five-month unofficial moratorium. Since then, records show, cops have issued 47 citations for violation of the ban.

Even in winter, though, dozens and sometimes hundreds of homeless people still find places to sleep outdoors in Boulder, and the woods and underpasses along the creek path on the fringe of downtown remain popular options.

Cleo Rashedo, a homeless man who arrived in Boulder three months ago and camps most nights, says the fears some have about where and how often some use the creek banks as bathrooms are reasonable.

“It’s true,” Rashedo said. “I’ve done it. I’ve just gotten some toilet paper and gone in the woods where no one’s around. … I’ve done it 80 times, probably.”

He said he doesn’t feel bad about it.

“Where else? You can’t get to the bathroom, you’re homeless, you got alcohol in your body. There’s nowhere to go,” Rashedo added.

After dark, there are still some portable toilets available, and there are public bathrooms in Eben G. Fine Park and on the Pearl Street Mall. Most homeless campers interviewed Monday said they either make the effort to defecate in one of those spots or to wait until the morning.

“I’d say 95 percent of us don’t do that,” said a homeless man who identified himself only as John. “I think the townspeople make a bigger deal out of it because they don’t like the homeless. They’re just using this as an excuse to (complain) about us.”

The Friends of Boulder Creek group insists that’s not its mission, and has opened dialogue with homeless advocates that neither side describes as adversarial.

Fronzaglia said she and her colleagues just want to see the creek cleaned up. She’s been walking the path almost every day for years, but said it wasn’t until November that she began to notice the human waste that’s now easily viewable to anyone with the stomach for a search.

Toilet paper is pictured next to the Boulder Creek on Monday in Boulder.

Toilet paper is pictured next to the Boulder Creek on Monday in Boulder. (Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer)

“I saw all this toilet paper hanging from branches and from the ground,” she said. “I started looking at the ground that I was standing on and I had this horrible realization that I was actually standing where multiple people had been defecating and urinating.

“It was very close to the water and very close to where they were sitting and lying down,” she continued. “There was so much feces — some human and some dog. But there was a lot of it.”

When Bowden commented last week on the issue, during a brief presentation to the City Council, she noted that her department has to maintain nearly 1,500 acres of urban park space, with a staff of about 150.

That roster is not sufficient to address the problems of waste — bodily and otherwise — along the creek, said Denise White, spokeswoman for Parks and Recreation.

White said that staff does waste removal and vandalism mitigation along the creek from Eben G. Fine Park to 55th Street every day, but has recently had to hire a contractor to come do extra cleanings once a week.

It’s not unusual for the department to make use of additional, paid help, but those contracts typically aren’t extended beyond the end of summer, when activity tends to die down outdoors.

This season, White said, “we have seen the need to continue those outside contracted services.”

“We completely understand the community’s expectations for safety, cleanliness and sustainability of our public spaces,” she added. “We’re paying attention.”

The waste that peppers the creekside is, for now, mostly harmless. But water quality experts say the trend could become considerably more worrisome once the weather warms and people resume swimming and tubing in the creek.

“Human waste has bacteria and pathogens,” explained Erin Dodge, Boulder County Public Health’s water quality program coordinator. “When improperly managed it can pollute surface water and potentially impact human health from those recreating in the water.”

When this exposure prompts health problems, it’s usually in the form of gastrointestinal illness, she said. Children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are most vulnerable.

“We are aware there are some safety concerns as well as health concerns,” White said. “We try to stay on top of that as much as we can.”

It’s a problem Boulder would like to end, for obvious reasons, but particularly given the fact that the city has embarked on a massive renovation project of the Civic Area, to which the creek is a primary draw.

By April, the city expects to have a new, as-yet-unknown plan in place to change the way it services the large local homeless population.

Evan Ravitz, a longtime advocate for the Boulder homeless, said that even with a camping ban, the city can expect some of its current challenges to persist.

“You can’t treat the symptom,” he said. “It’s not just feces. There are people and dogs that make that feces who have no home. You have to at least give them a place to camp, if not a tiny home, if not an apartment.

“Boulder’s spent 50 years trying to chase them away, and you can see how effective it’s been.”

————————————————————————————-

Evan Ravitz has it ASS-BACKWARD: Boulder’s do-gooders have spent 50 years trying to attract bums from everywhere, and they have been spectacularly successful in creating this shitty situation. Shame, shame on every one of the self-styled homeless advocates!

— MRW 

(This blog post will be e-mailed to Boulder City Council.)

Vacation (for lack of a better term)

HELP BOULDER COUNTY’S OWN HOMELESS PEOPLE, NOT TRANSIENTS!

By Max R. Weller

I could hardly pretend it’s a “sabbatical” — since I’m only an unpaid BUM, not a college professor enjoying full pay while doing nothing much . . .

I’ve just run out of new ways to repeat the same message, and I’m no longer confident that what I say matters at all. BTW, I’ve also deactivated my Facebook and Twitter accounts because I won’t be going to those sites, anyway, and see no reason to provide a forum for interested parties to speculate on my whereabouts and/or activities without my presence.

Everyone needs a break once in a while:

diogenesalexandermeet

Alexander the Great gets a less-than-warm reception from Diogenes, the original Homeless Philosopher.